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AirMatrixOS Wireless

Wireless

 

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Wireless

Ikarus NMS allows you to configure all wireless settings for nodes on your wireless network, including:

  • Link Distance
  • Transmitter Power
  • Operational Modes
  • Radio Settings
  • Security Settings
  • Outdoor Settings
  • Country Code Settings
  • Site Survey Operation

To configure Wireless settings, select the Wireless tab, located under the Advanced Configuration of Node, Configuration tabs. In the Wireless tab you can select the OpMode, Radio, Security or Outdoor sub-tabs.

Three buttons and two drop down lists are located at the top of the Wireless tab:

  • Refresh – Click Refresh to retrieve setting from the selected node.
  • Submit – Click Submit to upload the configuration to the node.
  • Set CC – Click Set CC to accept the country code specified in the CC drop down list
  • CC List – Select the required country code from the list, then click Set CC. The software will perform all the appropriate checks of the available radio chipsets in the system in the background. If any of them does not support the specified country code a possible violation could occur. If that occurs, Ikarus NMS warns you with a popup alert. This protects you from choosing an unsupported country code which might cause a loss of connection with the wireless interface after setting the specific country code.
  • Selected Wireless Interface list – Select the wireless interface to be configured. If there are multiple wireless interfaces available, this drop down a list is populated. If the selected interface is not active a red warning message is shown next to the interface.

Setting Operational Modes

An IKARUS node has the ability to operate in the following modes:

  • Access Point
  • WDS (Wireless Distribution System)
  • Repeater
  • AP Client
  • Station

Selected Operational Mode


The Selected Operational Mode drop down list is populated with all available operational modes an IKARUS node can adopt. Selecting an operational mode from the drop down list makes the corresponding pane available in the OpMode tab.

Configuring an Access Point


 

To configure the node as an access point (AP), select Access Point in the Selected Operation Mode drop down list. The AP tab becomes available. Several parameters must be configured as follows:

 

SSID (Service Set Identifier) - This field contains the string which is published as ESSID by the access point. To create a name for the service set identifier (SSID), type the name in the SSID box.

Inactivity Limit - If a station associated with the IKARUS access point is idle for a period of time defined by the Inactivity Limit field, the IKARUS access point sends a disassociation frame to the station to inform it that it had been disassociated due to inactivity timeout. To configure the Inactivity Limit, type the inactivity threshold, in minutes, in this box.

DTIM The DTIM interval, which you configure in the access point, indicates when the DTIM occurs. A DTIM interval is a count of the number of beacon frames that must occur before the access point sends the buffered multicast frames. To configure the DTIM, type the interval in number of beacons, in this box.

Beacon Period - This field represents the desirable time interval between two consecutive beacons. To configure the Beacon Period, type the number of seconds in this box. (Default: 100)

Site Survey The Site Survey button is accessible in all OpMode tabs. Site Survey scans all available frequencies associated with the IEEE 802.11a, b and g physical layer. When the scan is complete the Site Survey dialog box appears, indicating any possible sources of interference by other nearby access points. For more information on Site Survey settings, see Section 5.1.6.

Virtual BSSID

As from the last INMS versions you can create three extra virtual AP's (VAP) from one physical interface. First you have to set the native” (the actual physical) AP and it's properties (Beacon period,Inactivity,DTIM). These properties will follow any created VAP. 

To create a VAP click the Virtual BSSID scroll bar, choose VAP 1 and click enable to enable it. After clicking submit a new interface will be created with preconfigured name. 

This newly created interface can be configured in any possible way like a physical “native” one. You can set it with it's own security and firewall policies. It can be configured as a dhcp server, a HotSpot server ...etc. In a similar manner you can create and configure another two, three in total VAP's.

Association List - To access a list of information for all nodes associated with the AP, click the Association List button. The Associated stations for wireless interface dialog box appears. A description for each field in the Association List follows:

Alias - An Alias is a special name you can create to identify a client on the AP. When the configuration is saved, all aliases are saved on the device.
MAC Address - The MAC Address field contains the MAC address of each client associated with the AP.
IP Address - The IP Address field contains the IP address of each client that exchanges network traffic with the AP
Signal Level - The Signal Level field displays the signal level for each associated client based on Received Signal Strength Indication (RSSI).
Fade Margin - The Fade Margin field displays the actual difference between Signal Level and Noise Level.
Noise Level - The Noise Level field displays the noise level of the chip according to transmit rate and physical layer standard
Rate - The Rate field displays the transmission rate the AP uses to exchange data with each client.
Idle Time - The Idle Time field displays the time that has passed since a formerly associated client was disassociated.
Type - The Type field indicates the type of the node listed. It can contain the following values:
  • Adapter (Station Mode)
  • AP_Client (AP Client Mode)*
  • WDS_Type Client
Action - The Action field is a drop down list that allows you to perform several different actions on the selected node. You can:
  • Select Set Alias to set an Alias for a specific node.
  • Select Remove to remove an idle node from the list.
  • Select Disassociate to disassociate a client which is associated with the AP.
  • Select Permanent Disassociation to disassociate a client which is associated to the AP and simultaneously add its MAC to an Access Control List to deny access.

Hide Essid - Hiding the AP’s ESSID prevents outside users from joining the network because they cannot detect the network identifier. To stop the AP from publishing its ESSID in it beacon transmissions, select the Hide ESSID check box.

Stop Wireless To Wireless Traffic - To prevent traffic between two wireless stations that are both associated with an IKARUS AP, select the Stop Wireless to Wireless Traffic check box.

Configuring WDS Mode


 

An IKARUS node can operate as an access point WDS node. This gives you the opportunity to configure a Wireless Distribution System Network by setting up a number of IKARUS WDS nodes, each one taking part in the network. All the features and settings described in the access point section are supported for WDS mode. In addition, WDS Mode features a WDS List which contains the MAC addresses of all WDS nodes included in the network. 

To configure the currently selected node for Wireless Distribution System (WDS) mode, select WDS in the Selected Operation Mode drop down list. The WDS tab becomes available. SSID, Inactivity Limit, Beacon Period, Site Survey, Hide ESSID and Stop Wireless to Wireless Traffic fields are configured the same as for Access Point Mode. The WDS tab also features an Association List button and a list of Registered WDS Nodes.In the Registered WDS nodes list, type the MAC addresses of the nodes to be configured. Select the check box next to the MAC address field to enable it as part of the WDS network topology. (The enable feature can be helpful when WDS nodes change behavior. You can maintain the nodes’ MAC addresses in the list and enable or disable as necessary.

Configuring Repeater Mode


 

Repeater Mode is an advanced IKARUS mode. When an IKARUS node is configured to perform as a repeater it operates as a client. It associates with an AP that matches the desired BSSID (Basic Service Set Identifier) and adopts the settings of the BSS (Basic Service Set). After the association is complete, IKARUS repeats the BSS creating a brand new BSS range. Repeaters implement a combination of both Client mode and Access Point mode functionality and features such as Wireless to Wireless Traffic control.

 

As the diagram illustrates, the IKARUS Repeater is associated with the IKARUS Base Node. After being associated, the IKARUS Repeater extends the IKARUS Base Node’s BSS. The result is that the Initial BSS range is expanded to the footprint shown by the Final Merged BSS range with the Repeater acting as an access point with the Base Node settings. The three stations in the example topology can have access to both Host-PC-1 and Host-PC-2 (or can exchange data between them) regardless of whether they are associated with the Base Node or the Repeater.

Preferred SSID/Preferred BSSID

To configure an IKARUS node as a Repeater, type the Preferred SSID name or the Preferred BSSID MAC address into the appropriate fields. Click the Submit button and wait for the Repeater to associate itself with the specified Base node. The Repeater is then ready to accept associations with wireless stations. 

State and Link Quality/Signal Level

The State field and Link Quality/Signal Level fields mirror Client Node’s state as far as it has to do with the potential link with an access point. A continuous polling protocol operates between the Ikarus NMS and all nodes which have been added in the Network Topology pane. For Client configured nodes, Ikarus NMS is continuously informed of the State (Idle, Authenticated or Associated) of the node, the quality of the link (if associated) and the dynamic signal strength.

Configuring AP Client and Station Modes


 

The functionality of AP Client and Station modes is similar. Both modes configure the node as a client. The main difference is that AP Client supports address 4 traffic. Station has an embedded proxy-ARP functionality to support only address 3 traffic for all possible entities which maybe adjacent to its Ethernet interface. You can select either mode based on your network needs.

 

Preferred SSID

This field contains the string which is published as ESSID by the AP Client/Station node. To create a name for the service set identifier (SSID), type the name in the Preferred SSID box.

Preferred BSSID

This field contains the MAC address which is published as BSSID by the AP Client/Station node. To create a name for the basic service set identifier (BSSID), type the MAC address in the Preferred BSSID box. 

State and Link Quality/Signal Level

The State field and Link Quality/Signal Level fields mirror Client Node’s state as far as it has to do with the potential link with an access point. A continuous polling protocol operates between the Ikarus NMS and all nodes which have been added in the Network Topology pane. For Client configured nodes, Ikarus NMS is continuously informed of the State (Idle, Authenticated or Associated) of the node, the quality of the link (if associated) and the dynamic signal strength.

Using Site Survey Operation


 

The Site Survey button is available on all OpMode tabs. If an IKARUS node operates as AP Client, Repeater or Station, Site Survey will scan all available channels to find an appropriate BSSID to join (based on user credentials SSID, BSSID, Security etc). When an IKARUS node acts as an access point or WDS, Site Survey can be used to scan and monitor adjacent frequencies to detect interference from other access points.

When you click the Site Survey button, the Site Survey dialog box appears. Rows in the dialog box display all the available information for every node scanned. After the scan is complete and the dialog box list is populated, the status bar at the bottom of Ikarus NMS window displays the message Site survey list retrieved successfully. At the bottom of the Site Survey dialog box four buttons are available: 

Connect - Select a node in the list and click Connect to connect to that node.

Refresh - Click the Refresh button to re-scan and update the Site Survey list.

Continuous Scan - Click Continuous Scan to enable consecutive scanning. The button remains depressed until clicked a second time. While in Continuous Scan mode, the Site Survey list is updated dynamically, merging all the possible unique entries.

Align - The Align option allows you to achieve the best possible alignment for a distant point-to-point link. Click the Align button. The Site Survey Align dialog box appears. This dialog box displays BSSID, SSID, Channel Number, Link Quality and Signal Level fields. Using this dialog you can monitor signal strength and quality value statistics through consecutive polling. Polling occurs at a high frequency to provide an up-to-date representation of the link. While monitoring these statistics you can adjust your antenna to achieve maximum performance. When optimal antenna position and polarity are achieved, click the Quit button to return to the Site Survey panel.

Configuring Radio Settings


 

To configure the radio settings of the selected wireless interface, select the Radio tab on the left side of the Wireless pane. From the Radio tab you can:

  • select the Physical layer options (IEEE 802.11a,b and g)
  • select the Channel number
  • select whether the Channel is expressed as a number or Frequency
  • select the TxRate (data transmission rate)
  • set and enable the Frag value
  • set and enable the RTS parameter
  • enable Diversity operation
  • select the Antenna connector
  • enable Short Preamble

 

Selecting Physical Layer Options

The Physical drop down list contains all physical layer options that are available for the specific hardware you are using. If your hardware supports IEEE 802.11 a, b and g standards the Physical drop down list will contain AUTO, 802.11A, 802.11B, 802.11B-G, Turbo A and Turbo G options. (If the hardware does not support a physical layer standard Ikarus NMS returns a warning dialog indicating the NIC cannot be configured in the selected physical layer standard.)

Setting Channels and Frequencies

The Channel drop down list displays the currently selected radio channel using the standard IEEE channel numbering convention. To convert the Channel field to display the actual frequency, click the Frequency button.

Setting Transmission Rates

The TxRate drop down list allows you to select a standard transmission rate based on the available rates associated with the selected physical layer standard. You also can select Auto mode. In Auto mode IKARUS will be auto-configured to support the optimal TxRate for each related node. This can be very useful in environments sensitive to retries. In Auto mode an auto-rate fallback algorithm, which runs on the background, tries to maximize the data transfer rate.

Setting Frag

The Frag field allows you to implement fragmentation of packets, a technique that improves network performance in the presence of RF interference. You can set the fragment size by typing in the frame size threshold (in bytes). If a frame exceeds this value it will be fragmented. The fragmentation range is 256 to 2048 bytes. Setting the fragmentation threshold to 2048 effectively disables fragmentation.

To implement fragmentation, type the threshold value into the Frag box and select the Enable check box.

Setting RTS

The RTS field allows you to implement RTS/CTS handshaking between an IKARUS node and another station on the wireless network. RTS/CTS handshaking helps minimize collisions among hidden stations on a wireless network. An RTS/CTS handshake involves the originating node sending a Ready To Send frame to its destination, then waiting for the destination to return a Clear To Send frame. The originating node will then send its data. RTS/CTS operation adds to overhead but can help avoid collisions. When implementing RTS on an IKARUS access point RTS operation is initiated if a packet exceeds the threshold configured in the RTS field. The valid range is 0 to 2347 bytes. (If RTS is enabled a starting value of 500 is recommended.)

To implement RTS, type the threshold value into the RTS box and select the Enable check box.

Selecting Diversity Options

The Diversity field allows you to enable the use of two antennas for diversity operation, if two are used for the same radio.

Selecting Antenna Options

The Antenna drop down list allows you to select the Right or Left antenna, if two are used.

Setting Transmitted Power

The transmitted power of the node can be set by selecting preset values between 5 and 30. This is a custom scale (with no defined units) which simply represents minimum and maximum Transmitted Power of the currently selected wireless interface. To set transmitted power, select a value in the Tx Power drop down list.

Enable Short Preamble

The 18 byte ("long preamble") preamble is used to signal "here is a train of data coming" to the receiver. The 802.11b standard gives an option of reducing the size of the PLCP preamble to 9 bytes ("short preamble"), this significantly increases the throughput performance at higher data rates. To set Preamble Short, select a click the corresponding check box.

Configuring Security Settings


From the Security tab you can configure the security settings of the Selected Wireless Interface. From this tab you can set up :

  • None (no security)
  • WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy)
  • WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access)
  • ACL (Access Control List)

Setting Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP)

 

Through the WEP tab you can configure an IKARUS node to encrypt/decrypt data with keys based on the WEP protocol. To implement WEP, select WEP in the Selected Encryption Mode drop down list. To implement Open Key authentication, select open in the Wep Mode drop down list. To implement shared key authentication, select shared from the Wep Mode drop down list. To implement 64-bit encryption, select WEP-64 in the WEP Type drop down list. To implement 128-bit encryption, select WEP-128 in the WEP Type drop down list. Four text boxes (WEP Key #1, #2, #3 and #4) with adjacent option buttons allow you to maintain four different encryption keys, while using one of them. Type one or more encryption key into the text boxes, then select the option button of the one to be used. 

Setting Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA)

 

In the WPA tab you can configure an IKARUS node to encrypt/decrypt data with keys based on WPA protocol. To implement WPA, select WPA in the Selected Encryption Mode drop down list.

Setting WPA Mode

To set the WPA Mode, select either the WPA or RSN (WPA 2) option button.

Setting Key Management Mode

To configure the Key Management field, select PSK (Pre-Shared Key) or EAP (Extensible Authentication Protocol) in the Key Management Mode drop down list. This selection determines the type of fields that appear in the area in the right side of the pane. 

EAP
When EAP is selected, several text boxes appear on the right side of the panel. These fields are required in order to force an IKARUS access point to authenticate clients on a Back-End Authentication Server.They include the Server IP address the Server Port number, used for EAP-TLS packet transactions (usually 1812) a Server Secret phrase which is used for the IKARUS node authenticator to be accepted by the Back-End Authentication Server.The accounting server (optional) can be used to monitor logged users and the traffic they produce. Within IkarusOS you have the capability of using up to two authentication and accounting servers to meet your needs.
PSK
When PSK is selected in the Key Management Mode, drop down list, the Pass Phrase text box appears on the right side of the pane. This is the initial value on which negotiated WPA keys are created. To configure the Pass Phrase field, type the pass phrase.
Pairwise Cipher

The Pairwise Cipher field provides three options for the encryption mechanism of an IKARUS node.

  • TKIP (Temporal Key Integrity Protocol)
  • AES(CCMP) (Advanced Encryption Standard-Counter Mode CBC-MAC Protocol)
  • BOTH (selected if an IKARUS node is configured as an access point)

Configuring Access Control Lists (ACL)

 

When the Selected Operational Mode has been set to Access Point or WDS, the ACL sub-tab in the Security tab is available for selection. You have the option of setting an Access Control List to manage clients trying to connect to the access point. To configure Access Control List functions, click the ACL tab, then select the Enable checkbox. 

Denying Access

To deny specified clients access to the node, select DENY in the Policy drop down list. Clients with MAC addresses matching MAC addresses registered in the ACL will be denied access. All other addresses will be allowed

Allowing Access

To allow specified clients access to the node, select ALLOW in the Policy drop down list. Clients with MACaddresses matching MAC addresses registered in the ACL will be allowed access. All other addresses will be denied.

Setting up Access Control Lists

There are two methods to set up an Access Control List.

  • Type in the MAC addresses manually, using the Add button, and remove selected MAC addresses using the Remove button.
  • Load a text file containing the MAC addresses using the Append from File button.

Extracting Access Control Lists

To save an existing ACL, click Extract to File and name/save the file. This can be a useful feature if you need to submit the same MAC list to another access point.

 

Configuring Atheros Advanced Capabilities


The Atheros tab is useful in optimizing the operation of distant IKARUS nodes.

Link Distance

Setting the Link Distance can be effective in optimizing operation of a node. When Link Distance is defined, the acknowledge timeout is configured according to the distance. In lossy environments, where many retries occur, acknowledge timeout should be configured accordingly to the distance between the nodes. To set this parameter,type the distance (in meters) into the Link Distance text box.

Fast Frames

Fast Frames is a feature of Atheros-based technologies that utilizes frame aggregation and timing modifications to increase the data throughput rate of the system. It increases throughput by transmitting more data per frame and removing inter-frame pauses. To implement fast frames, select the Fast Frames check box.

Compression

The new drivers activate an Adaptive Lempel Ziv Hardware Compression Engine that is embedded in all current Atheros chipsets. To implement this feature, select the Compression check box.

Packet Bursting

Packet Bursting is another technique used by Atheros-based technologies to increase throughput by decreasing overhead and sending more dta frames per given period of time. To implement packet bursting, select the Packet Bursting check box.

AR

This new technology provides performance-on-demand based on channel utilization. Adaptive Radio monitors the entire 802.11 g and .11a bands and automatically increases the throughput only when channels are available and the application demands additional bandwidth. To implement AR, select the AR check box.

XR

XR (eXtended Range) utilizes Atheros based products to give twice the range of existing designs.To implement XR, select the XR (eXtended Range) check box.

DFS-TPC

Dynamic Frequency Selection/Transmit Power Control (DFS/TPC) implements technologies that makes possible international operation. To implement DFS-TPC, select the DFS-TPC (802.11h) check box.

WMM (Layer 2 QoS) / Advanced WMM Settings

WMM (Wi-Fi Multimedia) is a priority-based Quality of Service method used in implementing Voice over WLANs. To implement WMM, select he WMM (Layer QoS) check box, then click the Advanced WMM Settings checkbox to access the Advanced WMM Parameters dialog Box.